Sunday, June 21, 2009

Second-hand smoke victims can fight back

By JENNY F. MANONGDO - Manila Bulletin

Annoyed by inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke? You have the right to tell the smoker to stop smoking or carry his habit elsewhere, antitobacco advocates Monday said.

Some eight million residents of Metro Manila who are exposed to second-hand smoke weekly have expressed their frustration as reflected in a joint survey done by the government and by an international non-government organization committed to empowering governments in preventing and managing lung ailments, resulting from smoking.

However, out of the 8.7 million people living in Manila who admitted they are upset when they inhale second hand smoke weekly, only eight percent have the courage to stand up and make known their frustrations.

This was shown in a comprehensive survey, "Second-hand smoking in Metro Manila," commissioned by the Department of Health (DoH) Center for Health Development-Metro Manila (CHD-MM) and World Lung Foundation and funded by the Bloomberg initiative, a foreign funding agency aiming to reduce tobacco consumption in low and middle income countries.

"You should tell the smoker to stop smoking. Ilugar niya ang paninigarilyo. There are designated smoking areas just as there are areas that smoking is banned," Dr. Irma Asuncion, acting director of CHD-MM told a forum during the launch of the survey in Manila Monday. "For smokers, you should also learn to respect the rights of non-smokers."

Interestingly, the survey also pointed out how smokers comply with the requests of non-smokers.

When the smokers were asked to stop smoking or to smoke somewhere else, 36 percent ignored the request, 10 percent became angry and 54 percent complied with the request.

"As you can see, the rest stopped smoking and carried their smoking somewhere else. This is an eye opener. It's our right for clean air," Dr. Asuncion added.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, also an anti-tobacco advocate, said the Filipino culture of “pakikisama” is working against the desire to tell smokers off. "Surveys show that one main reason why smoking is so tolerated in the Philippines is that sense of "pakikisama" and "hiya." It's like the non-smokers are the ones who should be feel ashamed instead of the smokers. Isn't that ironic?"

"Even when we smoke in rooms with open windows or in open air areas, the studies prove that the smoke still reaches other people and do have harmful effects," she added.

The survey gathered 1,000 respondents aged 18 to 55 years old and was carried out from January 29 to February 26 this year.

Eighty-seven percent of them think cigarettes can cause heart disease in non-smokers, and 74 percent admitted they are exposed to second hand smoke one or more times per week. Moreover, 71 percent of non-smokers who were surveyed “strongly agree” that they get upset when they are exposed to second-hand smoke.

In 2006, the air pollution authority of California labeled second hand smoke as a toxin in itself along with fumes from diesel, gasoline and other severe pollutants, Hontiveros said.

Health experts point to second hand smoke as a risk factor for developing breast cancer and lung diseases including pneumonia, cancer, and tuberculosis among others.

"If you look at the case fatality ratio of A (H1N1) it is only 0.5 to 0.6 percent. But if you look into the top 10 leading causes of mortality in Metro Manila, Pneumonia, TB and the rest are non-communicable diseases which are related to smoking," Dr. Asuncion said.

Although the DoH sees the inefficient implementation of existing national laws and local ordinances on tobacco use, Dr. Garcia sees victory in the commitment of nine out of 17 local government units in Metro Manila that have pledged to support the campaigns.

These include the cities of Caloocan, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Taguig, City of Manila, Pasig City, Marikina and Muntinlupa.

Comelec delists 6M dubious poll registrants

Nearly 6 million voters were removed from the voters list of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Teopisto Elnas Jr., Comelec director for Election Barangay Affairs Department, said the 5.644 million “deactivated” registration covers only the first four months of the year.

Elnas, in a telephone interview with the Tribune, said for January alone, they removed a total of 3.9 million voters, while in April, about 1.2 million were delisted.

He, though, noted that under the law, the number of delisted voters should be less than a thousand, or 940 to be exact.

Elnas said the bulk of the deactivated voters came from the National Capital Region with more than 1 million.

Voters whose names were stricken from the list were those of persons who failed to vote in the two previous elections – in the May 2007 senatorial polls and the October 2007 barangay elections.

Other reasons for the delisting of voters includes loss of Filipino citizenship, death and double registration, Elnas said.

He said in January, the Comelec removed a total of 162,000 “dead” registrants and another 58,000 of such in the second quarter.

“The basis of our election officers in the delisting of dead voters is the certification coming from local civil registrars,” he said.

But Elnas said they expect the number of those to be stricken off from the voters list to decline in the third and fourth quarter of the year.

“The number has gone down, from 3.9 million in January, it went down to 1.2 million. (So) we expect that in the next two quarters, this will further drop,” he noted.

The Comelec has asked Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno yesterday to direct all judges in the regional and metropolitan trial courts to fast-track the resolution of the petition for inclusion and exclusion of registration to give the commission time to print the names of the qualified voters for the first-ever automated national elections next year.

Citing the Voters Registration Act of 1996, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the court has been given a 15-day reglamentary period to rule on the petition for inclusion and 10 days for the petition for exclusion.

Jimenez said the Comelec, through a resolution it issued last May 28, adjusted the filling of petitions for inclusion and exclusion in order to “cope with the timelines of the commission in the configuration of the machines (PCOS), printing of the elections day computerized list of voters, official ballots and other accountable forms” for the automated elections next year. Marie A. Surbano - Tribune

Lieutenant-Commander Max Shean

X-24, the midget submarine in which Shean tried to attack a floating dock

Shean rendezvoused with the submarine Spearhead and was towed in triumph to Subic Bay, in the Philippines. He was awarded a Bar to his DSO and the US Bronze Star for his gallantry, perseverance and outstanding skill.

Lieutenant-Commander Max Shean, who has died aged 90, was one of the small band of young men who, in the face of extraordinary peril, carried the sea war into enemy harbours; in the process they won a total of 68 awards for bravery, including four VCs; for his own exploits, Shean received a DSO and Bar.

In September 1942 Shean volunteered for special and hazardous service without knowing what this meant. After only 10 days' training, some of the volunteers dropped out; Shean thought that this took a lot of courage, while for him it seemed easier to stand at the back and hope that no one noticed his fear. When he learned soon afterwards that he was to become a diver in a secret, 51ft, four-man submarine known as an X-craft, his knees began to shake. But with his combination of engineering skills and seamanship, it turned out to be a task for which he was well-suited.

As an X-craft diver, Shean had to practise getting in and out of his submarine underwater through a small wet-and-dry chamber, shutting himself off from the rest of the crew before flooding the compartment and opening an external hatch.

Shean practised cutting underwater nets in Scottish lochs, which were always cold and black. There were accidents and deaths during training, but Shean and his fellow Australians always felt sure that they could beat the odds.

His first mission was Operation Source, the attack by a flotilla of X-craft on the German battleship Tirpitz in north Norway in September 1943. The X-craft were manned by passage crews and towed there by parent submarines, while attack crews, including Shean's, prepared themselves in the towing vessels.

Disaster struck, however, when Shean's X-9, behind Syrtis, broke her tow and the passage crew was lost. The towrope became tangled round Syrtis's port propeller, and Shean, whose diving suit was in X-9, plunged over the side into the freezing waters. Wearing overalls weighted with steel bars in the pockets, Shean repeatedly duck-dived until he could free the tangled rope. Knowing that, if attacked from the air, Syrtis would dive and abandon him on the surface, Shean was more frightened than he had ever been; and when he was hauled on board, the submarine's commanding officer rewarded him with a brusque "Well done!"

One of the lessons of Operation Source was the potential for confusion during multiple attacks; so on Operation Guidance, in April 1944, Shean, now in command of X-24, was towed by Sceptre to Bergen, Norway, to make a solo attack on a large floating dock.

Shean successfully penetrated the fjords to reach the harbour, but faulty intelligence caused him to lay X-24's explosive charges under a 7,800-ton German merchant ship, Barenfels, instead of the floating dock. Otherwise it was a model attack, and 24 hours later, sick and suffering from headaches caused by the stale air in the boat, Shean and his crew rendezvoused at sea with Sceptre. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his great courage, skill and determination in a most hazardous enterprise.

Following D-Day, Shean's flotilla was deployed to the Far East in command of an improved craft, XE-4. When Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, and an experienced submariner, saw his first XE-craft he declared it was a "suicide craft" which had no place in the Allies' order of battle. But when orders came from Washington to cut two underwater telegraph cables off Japanese-occupied Saigon, he found that the British midget submarines were the only force capable of achieving this.

The aim of Operation Sabre was to force the Japanese to use wireless communications which could be intercepted and deciphered. Shean designed new grapnels to hook the cables, which Engine Room Artificer Vernon "Ginger" Coles manufactured, and set off under tow from Queensland. En route to Indo-China, Shean nearly drowned. XE-4 was running on the surface, with the hatches closed to prevent the boat flooding, when Shean was swept away by a wave; but after "swimming the fastest strokes of my life" he grabbed the rudder and hauled himself hand-over-hand along the jumping wire and climbed on board again.

Undeterred, with only underwater dead reckoning updated by occasional sightings of Cap St Jacques lighthouse, Shean expertly navigated XE-4 into the shallow mouth of the Mekong river where, on July 31 1945, he began a submarine trawl for the cables. After ploughing the seabed for hours, XE-4 was, at 12.05, suddenly brought to a halt: it had snagged the first cable, and 13 minutes later the diver, fellow-Australian Sub-Lieutenant Ken Briggs, returned with a short length as proof that it had been cut. Resuming his trawl at 13.26, Shean found the second cable, much deeper than the first, and Sub-Lieutenant Adam Bergius made three attempts to cut it.

Shean could only wait until an exhausted Bergius emerged triumphantly from the airlock brandishing a length of cable.

Shortly after midnight, Shean rendezvoused with the submarine Spearhead and was towed in triumph to Subic Bay, in the Philippines. He was awarded a Bar to his DSO and the US Bronze Star for his gallantry, perseverance and outstanding skill. Coles, who was in Shean's crew in X-24 and in XE-4, was awarded a DSM and a mention in despatches.

Maxwell Shean was born on July 6 1918 in Perth, where his father was clerk to the Supreme Court, and the young Max spent his youth "messing about in tin boats on the river". He was studying Engineering at the University of Western Australia when he heard news of Dunkirk. Although strongly advised to finish his studies, he was determined to join the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve.

The Royal Navy needed skilled anti-submarine warfare officers for the Battle of the Atlantic, and eventually one fifth of all ASWOs were trained at HMAS Rushcutter in Sydney, where Shean was sent in late 1940. By the summer of 1941 he was in his first ship, the corvette Bluebell, which he described as "like your first girlfriend, she goes into your heart. I served 14 months in Bluebell, she kept me afloat and gave me three meals a day, made me seasick and she sank a U-boat."

Bluebell was part of the 37th Escort Group escorting convoys between Britain and Gibraltar, and Shean took part in some of the bitterest fighting of the Battle of the Atlantic. His skill as an ASWO and proficiency in using his ASDIC (sonar) earned him the nickname "King Ping".

At the end of 1941 Bluebell took part in the desperate defence of convoy OG77, which was attacked by a wolf pack; but five U-boats were sunk. On the night of December 11/12 Shean heard the high-pitched whine of torpedoes three times through his headset and warned his captain to turn Bluebell, and at midnight he dropped two patterns of depth charges. Shean's postwar research in British and German archives convinced him that he had sunk U-208.

While training in X-craft on the Isle of Bute, Shean travelled to Aberfeldy, Perthshire, to seek his Scottish ancestors. There he was warned that the village shop's pretty assistant was "spoken for". Nevertheless, romance blossomed, and despite wartime security Shean even smuggled her into the builder's yard, where she broke a bottle of Australian champagne on the bows of Shean's boat, XE-4, and gave it its unofficial name, Exciter.

After the war Shean finished his degree and worked for the City of Perth Electricity and Gas Department, and the State Electricity Commission until his retirement in 1978.

In 1979 he celebrated the 150th anniversary of the settlement of Western Australia by winning the open division of the Parmelia Yacht Race from Plymouth to Fremantle. His yacht, Bluebell, is today moored at Fremantle Sailing Club. In May 2005 Shean and his wife joined the Department of Veterans' Affairs VE-Day mission to Europe.

Shean's logical approach to problems and his interest in engineering shine through his modest wartime biography, Corvette and Submarine (1992). Once one of his daughter's boyfriends remarked that he ran his household like a battleship, which Shean took as a great compliment.

Max Shean, who died on June 15, married Mary Golding in 1944. She survives him with their two daughters.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Palafox Jr. is one green architect

By Tony Lopez

Architecture: When green is gold

Felino Palafox Jr. is one architect who puts his money where his mouth is.

In December, he gave up a $1-million professional fee because his client, a Korean gaming company, wanted to cut down 366 trees in an urban area inside the Subic Freeport.

Not only did he forgo an impressive fee. He also went on a media offensive to denounce the supposedly $120-million hotel casino entertainment project for its assault on the trees. “The trees were marked like convicts to be executed,” he winced.

Not surprisingly, the project proponent, along with top Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Subic town officials, began to bad-mouth him. But Palafox got the backing of President Arroyo to whom he complained. The massacre of trees was aborted.

No artist or architect of his generation has embraced environmental protection with more passion and professionalism than Jun Palafox.

While at first blush, green architecture adds to the cost of a project “you can recover your cost in seven years,” Palafox reckons. And of course, green architecture recovers the environment for future generations.

Green architecture came early to Jun Palafox. As a young architect who arrived from a two-year scholarship at Harvard for his master’s degree in the 1970s, he headed the team that made designs for the future megalopolis, Metro Manila.

His design incorporated a walkable, bikeable green city with plenty of greenery and high-rise residential buildings near a mass transit system.

He also proposed charging an extra tax for vehicles for entering the central business district during peak hours—a concept used successfully by cities like Singapore. Palafox thought of the idea 35 years ago. Until now, Metro Manila has not adopted it.

Jun Palafox’s architectural firm—Palafox Associates is perhaps distinguished for its focus on green design.

Palafox Associates combines architecture, interior design, engineering, landscape architecture, environmental planning, urban design, land use planning, and planning management.

Explains Palafox: “We are merely borrowing the environment from future generations; therefore, we endeavor to minimize the impact of our actions, plan and designs, enhance the environment and minimize the negative impact.”

According to Wikipedia, green architecture or sustainable building focuses on efficiency of resource use—energy, water and materials, while reducing building impact on human health and the environment.

The world’s No. 1 polluters are not cars, but buildings. In 2006, in the US and Europe, buildings used up 40 percent of total energy demand. In the US, 54 percent of that 40 percent was consumed by residential buildings, and 46 percent by commercial buildings.

Contractors usually add 17 percent to the cost of construction when incorporating green design. But according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the additional cost is only 5 percent.

With the passage of the Renewable Energy Law, it is now cheaper for homes and buildings to go green. Raw materials and green products like solar panels come enter the country tax free. Locally produced ones enjoy a tax perk.

Palafox is considered the Philippines’ No. 1 architect and foremost urban planner.

His firm, Palafox Associates, is ranked as the No. 1 architectural firm in Southeast Asia, with 100 architects, work in 32 countries around the world, and 33 years of experience—including a four-year working experience with a multinational and interdisciplinary professional staff and with international consultants in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

His clients are among the largest and most prestigious land developers, building owners, tycoons and taipans, not to mention the sheiks, kings and sultans of the world.

Jun Palafox carved his name in the Middle East planning and designing their buildings, palaces, malls, ports, airports, townships and cities. The biggest structures and projects in that area carry his imprint.

The firm has been involved in the architectural design of more than 10 billion square meters of building area. It has also master-planned over 100 communities covering more than five million square meters of land area in 32 other countries from different continents.

It was in the Middle East where Henry Sy Sr. met the then young architect and enticed him to come to the Philippines, paying him consulting fees higher than what the retailing taipan was paying his executives. Jun Palafox did indeed come back and helped Tatang Henry Sy design some of his shopping palaces, injecting ideas and visioning he learned from abroad.

Later, the Zobels also asked Palafox to join their group. He left Ayala and made a name of his own. He likes the old designers of the old Ayala like Joseph McMicking and the late Enrique Zobel. They fought hard to preserve trees and parks because they are, as Palafox says, “the lungs of the city.”

In July 1989, Jun went on his own putting up what became the largest architectural firm in the Philippines. In 1991, the firm became a partnership.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

JC delos Reyes - Kapatiran standard bearer

Olongapo Councilor JC delos Reyes, Presidential standard bearer of Kapatiran Party in Hot Seat interview at ANC Dateline
Related articles on JC & Ang Kapatiran (follow links)

Jousting with the windmill

Andress Hagad - SunStar

“JC WHO?” might very well be the question the average Filipino voter will ask when told that JC de los Reyes will be one of the candidates for president during the 2010 national elections. The name will certainly ring no bell in the mind of most voters, and well it should not because prior to his announcement last Saturday Mr. John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes was just a city councilor in Olongapo, Pampanga.

JC is neither a practical joker nor a lunatic. A graduate of the Ateneo de Manila and of De La Salle – Zobel, he is a sober and successful businessman, a nephew of Senator Richard Gordon. By his own description a simple man with a moral duty, JC de los Reyes was nominated to run for the presidency by the Kapatiran Party which, judging from its past record, is hands-down and thumbs-up the most moral political party in the Philippines today.

Founded by Mr. Nandy Pacheco during the 2007 national and local elections, Kapatiran then fielded three senatorial candidates: Dr. Martin Bautista, Atty. Zosimo Paredes and Adrian Sison. All three were devout Roman Catholics, successful professionals and as far from the image of the legendary Don Quixote as black is from white. The Party was formed to be the model of what the ideal political party should be (with clean, law-abiding, moral party members, and with a clearly-defined set of party principles), organized to give the Filipino electorate an alternative choice to the traditional politicians that is our daily fare during elections.

In 2010, Kapatiran will attempt to field candidates in both national and local government positions, the better to make its advocacy more visible to the ordinary voter. It will not be lacking in challenges. Even in the local sphere, in the provinces, cities and municipalities, Kapatiran is relatively unknown.

Ninety-five percent of its candidates will probably be first-timers in politics as traditional politicians, the trapos, will never fit into the mold of principles that it has set for prospective members. But the political face that it will present will certainly be refreshing, candidates who can pass the test of morality, integrity and professionalism that ought to be the trademark of all politicians.

It is a testament to how far we still need to travel to reach political maturity that political parties like Kapatiran and candidates like JC de los Reyes appear like Don Quixotes jousting with the seemingly-impregnable windmill. On the other hand, change will come only if more and more people believe like JC, that the windmill is man-made and can be broken by men and women with the resolve to break it down.

From the bottom of Bottomline’s heart, kudos to KC de los Reyes and to the Kapatiran Party!

Related articles on JC

Friday, June 05, 2009

Congressman who voted YES for CON-ASS:

and yes, Diaz and Magsaysay are among them

National Capital Region
Vincent P. Crisologo, Quezon City
Matias V. Defensor, Jr., Quezon City
Mary Ann L. Susano, Quezon City
Nanette Castelo-Daza, Quezon City
Bienvenido M. Abante Jr., Manila
Jaime C. Lopez, Manila
Maria Zenaida B. Angping, Manila
Maria Theresa B. David, Manila
Amado S. Bagatsing, Manila
Daniel R. De Guzman, Marikina City
Marcelino R. Teodoro, Marikina City
Eduardo C. Zialcita, Parañaque City
Henry M. Dueñas, Jr., Taguig
Alvin S. Sandoval, Malabon City-Navotas City
Jose Antonio F. Roxas, Pasay City
Oscar G. Malapitan, Caloocan City
Mary Mitzi L. Cajayon, Caloocan City
Roman T. Romulo, Pasig City
Rexlon T. Gatchalian, Valenzuela City
Magtanggol T. Gunigundo I, Valenzuela City

Cordillera Administrative Region
Manuel S. Agyao, Kalinga
Elias C. Bulut, Jr., Apayao
Mauricio G. Domogan, Baguio City
Samuel M. Dangwa, Benguet
Solomon R. Chungalao, Ifugao

Ilocos Region
Thomas M. Dumpit Jr., La Union
Victor Franciso C. Ortega, La Union
Arthur F. Celeste, Pangasinan
Conrado M. Estrella III, Pangasinan
Marcos O. Cojuangco, Pangasinan
Victor F. Agbayani, Pangasinan
Ma. Rachel J. Arenas, Pangasinan
Eric D. Singson, Ilocos Sur
Ronald V. Singson, Ilocos Sur
Roque R. Ablan, Jr., Ilocos Norte
Cecilia S. Luna], Abra

Cagayan Valley
Florencio L. Vargas, Cagayan
Manuel N. Mamba, Cagayan
Junie E. Qua, Quirino
Carlo Oliver D. Diasnes, Batanes
Rodolfo T. Albano, Isabela
Edwin C. Uy, Isabela

Central Luzon
Jose V. Yap, Tarlac
Jeci A. Lapus, Tarlac
Monica Louise Prieto-Teodoro, Tarlac
Lorna C. Silverio, Bulacan
Pedro M. Pancho, Bulacan
Reylina G. Nicolas, Bulacan
Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan
Arturo C. Robes, San Jose del Monte City
Albert C. Garcia, Bataan
Herminia B. Roman, Bataan
Joseph Gilbert F. Violago, Nueva Ecija
Ma. Milagros H. Magsaysay, Zambales
Antonio M. Diaz, Zambales
Aurelio D. Gonzales, Jr., Pampanga
Juan Miguel M. Arroyo, Pampanga
Anna York P. Bondoc, Pampanga
Carmelo F. Lazatin, Pampanga

Danilo E. Suarez, Quezon
Wilfrido Mark C. Enverga, Quezon
Michael John R. Duavit, Rizal
Adeline Rodriguez-Zaldarriaga, Rizal
Angelito C. Gatlabayan, Antipolo City
Roberto V. Puno, Antipolo City
Eileen Ermita-Buhain, Batangas
Mark Llandro L. Mendoza, Batangas
Victoria H. Reyes, Batangas
Jesus Crispin C. Remulla, Cavite
Elpidio F. Barzaga, Jr., Cavite
Maria Evita R. Arago, Laguna
Edgar S. San Luis, Laguna

Antonio C. Alvarez, Palawan
Carmencita O. Reyes, Marinduque
Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona, Romblon
Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa, Occidental Mindoro
Rodolfo G. Valencia, Oriental Mindoro

Bicol Region
Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, Masbate
Narciso R. Bravo, Jr., Masbate
Antonio T. Kho, Masbate
Al Francis C. Bichara, Albay
Reno G. Lim, Albay
Luis R. Villafuerte, Camarines Sur
Felix R. Alfelor, Jr., Camarines Sur
Diosdado Ignacio Jose Maria Macapagal-Arroyo, Camarines Sur
Joseph A. Santiago, Catanduanes
Jose G. Solis, Sorsogon

Western Visayas
Florencio T. Miraflores, Aklan
Genaro M. Alvarez, Jr., Negros Occidental
Jeffrey P. Ferrer, Negros Occidental
Ignacio T. Arroyo, Jr., Negros Occidental
Jose Carlos V. Lacson, Negros Occidental
Alfredo D. Marañon III, Negros Occidental
Raul T. Gonzalez, Jr., Iloilo City
Niel C. Tupas, Jr., Iloilo
Ferjenel G. Biron, Iloilo
Arthur Defensor, Sr., Iloilo
Judy J. Syjuco, Iloilo
Janette L. Garin, Iloilo
Joaquin Carlos Rahman A. Nava, Guimaras
Fredenil H. Castro, Capiz

Central Visayas
Roberto C. Cajes, Bohol
Edgardo M. Chatto, Bohol
Pryde Henry A. Teves, Negros Oriental
Pablo P. Garcia, Cebu
Pablo John F. Garcia, Cebu
Ramon H. Durano VI, Cebu
Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz, Cebu
Benhur L. Salimbangon, Cebu
Eduardo R. Gullas, Cebu
Antonio V. Cuenco, Cebu City
Raul V. Del Mar, Cebu City

Eastern Visayas
Roger G. Mercado, Southern Leyte
Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., Leyte
Carmen L. Cari, Leyte
Andres D. Salvacion Jr., Leyte
Trinidad G. Apostol, Leyte
Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Leyte
Reynaldo S. Uy, Samar
Sharee Ann T. Tan, Samar
Teodolo M. Coquilla, Eastern Samar
Paul R. Daza, Northern Samar
Emil L. Ong, Northern Samar
Glenn A. Chong, Biliran

Zamboanga Peninsula
Rosendo S. Labadlabad, Zamboanga del Norte
Cecilia G. Jalosjos-Carreon, Zamboanga del Norte
Cesar G. Jalosjos, Zamboanga del Norte
Victor J. Yu, Zamboanga del Sur
Antonio H. Cerilles, Zamboanga del Sur
Dulce Ann K. Hofer, Zamboanga Sibugay

Northern Mindanao
Vicente F. Belmonte, Jr., Lanao del Norte
Abdullah D. Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte
Rolando A. Uy, Cagayan de Oro City
Marina P. Clarete, Misamis Occidental
Herminia M. Ramiro, Misamis Occidental
Yevgeny Vicente B. Emano, Misamis Oriental
Pedro P. Romualdo, Camiguin
Candido P. Pancrudo Jr., Bukidnon

Davao Region
Franklin P. Bautista, Davao del Sur
Marc Douglas C. Cagas IV, Davao del Sur
Arrel R. Olaño, Davao del Norte
Antonio F. Lagdameo, Jr., Davao del Norte
Isidro T. Ungab, Davao City
Vincent J. Garcia, Davao City
Prospero Nograles, Davao City
Thelma Z. Almario, Davao Oriental
Nelson L. Dayanghirang, Davao Oriental
Rommel C. Amatong, Compostela Valley
Manuel E. Zamora, Compostela Valley

Datu Pax S. Mangudadatu, Sultan Kudarat
Arnulfo F. Go, Sultan Kudarat
Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, Cotabato
Bernardo F. Piñol, Jr., Cotabato

Glenda B. Ecleo, Dinagat Islands
Philip A. Pichay, Surigao del Sur
Florencio C. Garay, Surigao del Sur
Francisco T. Matugas, Surigao del Norte
Guillermo A. Romarate, Jr., Surigao del Norte
Edelmiro A. Amante, Agusan del Norte
Jose S. Aquino II, Agusan del Norte

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Pangalian M. Balindong, Lanao del Sur
Faysah Omaira M. Dumarpa, Lanao del Sur
Yusop H. Jikiri, Sulu
Munir M. Arbison, Sulu
Simeon Datumanong, Maguindanao
Nur G. Jaafar, Tawi-Tawi

Party- Lists
Narciso D. Santiago III, Alliance for Rural Concerns
Edgar L. Valdez, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
Ernesto C. Pablo, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
Robert Raymund M. Estrella, Abono
Nicanor M. Briones, Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines,

Keppel Cebu labor woes affect group performance

Written by VG Cabuag - Business Mirror Reporter

SHIPYARD operator Keppel Philippines Marine Inc. said its labor problem in Cebu is affecting the entire company as customers are reportedly canceling their orders for new ships to be built in the facility.

Yeo Chien Sheng Nelson, the company’s chairman, said they have temporarily stopped operations in the Cebu facility, forcing the remaining workers to go on leave until such time a new ship order has been secured.

“It’s not a big order, but it is an order to keep the company going and wait for better times. The current market is terrible. The current [economic situation] also [affected] ship building. Every shipyard is hungry to win [new] projecst,” he told the BusinessMirror at the sidelines of the company’s stockholder’s meeting on Tuesday.

Nelson, however, was stopped short of blaming the labor problem as the main cause of the closure but he said it has made the situation worse in the light of the global economic downturn.

“If you are ship owner with so many yards to choose [from] and you have a one that everyday you read on the newspaper that there’s going to be an impending [labor] strike, would you want to keep the job to the yard when you have such a choice?,” Nelson said.

As of May, the company has 146 senior management officers, 118 management staff, and 558 industrial workers. Both the senior officers and industrial workers are unionized.

In April, Keppel’s subsidiary in Cebu announced redundancy of positions for 70 workers after the company decided to turn its facility from a ship repair to a ship building early in the year.

In its report, Keppel said its net income for last year increased by 78 percent to P908 million from the previous year’s income of P508.57 million.

The subsidiary, Keppel Cebu Shipyard Inc. (KCSI) repaired 69 vessels—40 local and 29 foreign—during the year, from the 77 recorded in 2007.

“The jobs secured were of lower value, thus, resulting in an 18-percent drop in revenue to P563 million. With this, KCSI’s total revenue decreased by 24 percent or about P258 million,” the company said, adding that the subsidiary has shipbuilding projects, which yielded earnings of P255 million.

For the first three months of the year, however, the company reported a lower operating profit of P82.33 million from the previous year’s P87.11 million.

It posted a revenue of P590.1 million for the first quarter, 11-percent lower compared with last year. This was due mainly to lower revenue from shipbuilding and fabrication activities. Ship repair revenues

contributed 63 percent of the total sales earnings while shipbuilding and fabrication contributed 37 percent of the total sales revenues for the period.

Keppel Philippines is 95.79-percent owned by KS Investments Pte. Ltd., a company based in Singapore, and 4.21-percent owned by noncontrolling shareholders, including those held by the public.

Keppel Philippines in its earlier report said its Batangas facility will support the operations of Keppel Group in Singapore, while the Cebu shipyard will serve the international shipping industry.

Subic Shipyard, which Keppel has majority ownership, is expected to be active on ship repair and conversion works for international vessels.